This Saskatoon art exhibit is the cat's meow — literally

Bridges Art Movement allows people to take home a cat, if they wish

Samantha Maciag · CBC News · Posted: Nov 18, 2018 9:00 AM CT | Last Updated: November 18

It's a feline lover's dream at The Bridges Art Movement (BAM) new exhibit in Saskatoon. Each Saturday — or Caturday — until Dec. 1, there is an installation inspired by cats, for cats, featuring real, live cats. 

The Cat's Meow was curated by Andie Palynchuk, a co-director at BAM, and opened Nov. 17. It also serves as a fundraiser for the Street Cat Rescue in Saskatoon, otherwise known as SCAT. 

"What we like to do with BAM is bridge communities together that might not otherwise be together in the art community. And we are all huge cat fans," Palynchuk told Afternoon Edition host Garth Materie. 

"I was inspired by this idea of partnering with SCAT ... to use art as a conduit for animal adoption. And with the cold winters that we have in Saskatchewan, I thought it would be best to do this early in our winter so we can get as many of them adopted out [as possible]."

The exhibit is full of cat-themed art, paintings, sculptures, functional furniture for cats, and a cat jungle gym with ramps, tubes and shelves. Much is designed with cats in mind because at each Saturday show, there will always be three cats or kittens in the gallery that are up for adoption.

For Palynchuk, her own love of cats goes back to childhood. 

"I was always sewing little costumes for my cats and kittens — they were really sweet for letting me do that, looking back now," she laughed. 

The Cat's Meow features work by Palynchuk, Alexa Hainsworth, Alana Moore, Alison Norlen, Arthur Perlett, Derek Sandbeck, Dave Stonhouse, Jaymie Raefta and Yonina Rollack. 

"Talking with all of the artists, everybody has had so much fun doing this show," Palynchuk said. "There's a kind of underlying '80s, '90s retro theme happening with it. So there's lots of bright colours and interesting patterning." 

Cats continue to be trendy in popular culture, from funny YouTube videos and viral photos and GIFs, to cat cafés popping up in North American cities. 

But, in reality, there are so many stray cats left vulnerable because places like the Saskatoon SPCA and SCAT have taken in so many felines, they often can't accept more. 

Feline fans take in The Cat's Meow art installation at the Drinkle Building in Saskatoon on Nov. 17. The exhibit is also a fundraiser for SCAT cat rescue in Saskatoon. (Submitted by Andie Palynchuk)

"My hope for the event is that we adopt some of these amazing kittens and cats out to folks. That would be the best," Palynchuk said, adding that BAM has suggested all the artists donate their personal proceeds from the show to SCAT as well. 

You can find The Cat's Meow: a Cat Friendly Art Installation in the basement of Drinkle No. 3 Building (200-117 3rd Avenue South) in Saskatoon, every Saturday afternoon until Dec. 1. The gallery will also be open for bring your own cat playtime (BYOC) on Nov. 22 and Nov. 29, from 5 to 9 p.m., with admission by cash donation.